Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Additional Info on the PC(USA) budget cuts

Here are two additional links, from the "left" and "right" of the PC(USA):
The table printed below is from the Layman article:
Budget Year Mission budget (millions) Declines
from 2001
from 2001
2001 $144
2002 $132 8.4% 2,451,969
2003 $130 9.8% 2,405,311
2004 $127 12.0% 2,362,116
2005 $116 19.6% 2,297,116*
2006 $116 19.6% 2,212,116*
2007 $97 32.5% Pct. decline from 2001
2008 $96 33.4% 11.3%
*Include declines projectedby the Office of the General Assembly

These figures do not paint a rosy picture for a denomination that has lost 11.3% of its members over the past 5 years, but at the same time seen its budget cut by a percentage three times the loss in members.

John Detterick, the Executive Director of GAC points out that per capita giving to local congregations is rising, and that money is being spent on mission. He sees this as a hopeful sign, and acknowledges that institution trust is something that will have to be rebuilt.

The large-scale reorganization of the Congregational, National, and Worldwide Ministry Divisions seem, on first glance, like a draconian move, but on reflection it probably won't affect how local congregations worship, fellowship, and serve God.

What disturbs me more is the loss, through attrition and possible layoffs, of 55 missionaries -- dropping the remainder to about 250. The first of the Great Ends of the Church is "The Proclamation of the Gospel for the Salvation of Humankind", and these Great Ends comprise the Mission Statement for GAC, according to Mike Kruse's informative analysis of the GAC's budget cuts for 2007 and 2008.

The purpose of the PC(USA) in Louisville, as I see it, is to enable presbyteries and local congregations to be the Church -- even down to the level of two or three gathering together -- or even one person following God's call.


Michael W. Kruse said...

The Layman's presentation overstates the financial decline between 2006-2007. It gives the impression of 19 million decline.

First the mission budget for 2006 I have shows 113.9 not 116. Second in addtion to cuts, there a number of accounting changes. Money used to come in for camp and conference centers and was then disbursed out to the entities. This was carried as a 5.6 million dollar revenue and expense in the CMD budget, yet CMD had no oversight authority of either the income or expenses. This line item has been eliminated from the budget and is now just a pass through. To make 2006 comparable to 2007 you would have to reduce the budget to 108.3. There are other similar changes. The actual cuts amounted to about 9.1 million.

As to cutting mission positions, 70% of GAC income is restricted. If you want to cut 9 million, you have to cut areas that spend in the millions. Guess what one of the big dollar unrestricted giving areas is?

Denis Hancock said...

Well, as a rule, I tend not to quote the Layman or Witherspoon Society articles (for pretty much the same reasons), but I thought figures would be a "matter of fact" rather than a "matter of opinion".

I hope one of the changes will be to make the budget process a little more transparent. I spent some time a few months ago trying to ferret out the PC(USA) annual budget. What I found was even less comprehensible than our congregation's budget. That's why I am on the Mission Committee instead of the Finance Committee...

I saw that the mission cuts were a relatively minor part of the $9.1 million, but it is a symbolic thing, and apparently easy to misunderstand.

Still, what you say makes sense when I mull it over. I hope better communication from Louidville is one outcome of all these changes.

Guess what one of the big dollar unrestricted giving areas is?

If you had said "restricted", I would have guessed "mission workers", but you'll have to spell this one out for me...

Michael W. Kruse said...

dxI don't think the Layman table was intentionally misleading. Fact is that a number of changes were made to the budget that require some technical knowledge about how accounting works to make sense of this. Several Council members have struggled with interpreting this as well.

"I hope one of the changes will be to make the budget process a little more transparent."

You and me both! We have people on Mission Support Services who are professional business folks who struggle to get their brains about how the current budget and accounting works. It is a very difficult to grasp what is going on.

This is not a criticism of Joey Bailey and the support staff. It has its roots in a poorly organized operations structures. Bailey's staff does a great job at reflecting what the structure does. That is now being changed. "Transparent" is the operativ word here. I believe it is coming but it may be months away yet.

As to mission work, it is one of the biggest for unrestricted and restricted giving. I hear you on the symbolic aspects. Not a picture the GAC wanted to paint but with everything considered I think it was a justifiable decision.

Pastor Lance said...

We can agree or disagree with the "numbers" by The Layman or any other group. The TRUTH remains! $$$ going to GA are down. Membership in the PCUSA is in freefall. We will continue to have catastrophic membership declines due to the age of the "average" Presbyterian.

So... what are we going to do? I agree that cutting "mission" isn't a wise thing to do. But guess what, we probably don't have a denomination wide definition of "mission." To one person, the Washington DC office is mission, to the next person it is a political, left-leaning lobbying group.

We (the PCUSA, that is you and me) need to change! On my blog (FullCourtPresby.blogspot.com) I am walking through my upcoming sermon series on this very topic (using the book "Who Moved My Cheese?").


Denis Hancock said...

I may be a little naive, but our Book of Order makes it quite clear as to what our mission is:

* The proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of humankind
* The shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
* The maintenance of divine worship
* The preservation of the truth
* The promotion of social righteousness
* The exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world

These Six Great Ends are a natural outflow of Scripture, which is at the base of what we are to believe and do.

What is so difficult about that?

(I'm not railing at you, Pastor Lance -- I've been on your website, and I have a pretty good idea where you stand)

Ryan S. said...

I think it's a good thing if they are living the PCUSA for PCA, or a conservative Reformed denomination.